Sketched X Day 15 Coming Home: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

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The Questions

1) When will God dwell with His people? Is it current or future? (verse 3)

2) If this is futuristic, will we be returning to the Garden of Eden?

3) What characteristics of God’s heart are revealed in verse 4?

Revelation 21:3-4

3 Then I heard a loud voice from the throne: Look, God’s dwelling is with humanity, and he will live with them. They will be His peoples, and God Himself will be with them and will be their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.

Original Intent

1) When will God dwell with His people? Is it current or future? (verse 3)
With a little background study, we can put these verses in proper perspective. The author is John, one of Jesus’ twelve disciples (Revelation 1:4), and he wrote while exiled on the Island of Patmos where he was sent for preaching Christ. While exiled, God gave John a vision of the final days of earth and a sneak peek of glorious things to come in eternity when God would make His dwelling place with mankind. The Greek word for dwelling place is “skene” meaning tent or tabernacle, which reminds us of the Israelites wandering the wilderness where God first instituted the command to build a Tabernacle where He would meet with His people. The first tabernacle was a tent, designed to be moved around with Israel in their desert travels; it was not a permanent residence. When God’s holy glory filled the tabernacle, a luminous cloud was visible; the Jews used the Hebrew word “shekinah” to describe this divine representation of God’s glory. (Exodus 40:34-35) Amidst the chaos of our time, our recognition of God’s constant presence is sometimes sporadic, but in eternity, we will be permanently aware of His Presence and engage with Him perfectly! Today, God personally indwells all who have personally trusted Him as Lord and Savior through the Holy Spirit. (John 3:3, John 14:12-17) God’s promise to make Israel His people and dwell with them forever is often referenced throughout the Old Testament. “I will place My residence among you, and I will not reject you. I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be My people.” (Leviticus 26:11-12) “My dwelling place will be with them: I will be their God, and they will be My people.” (Ezekiel 37:27-28) How amazing that John’s vision included the coming perfect fulfillment of this precious promise!

2) If this is futuristic, will we be returning to the Garden of Eden?
At the beginning of time, the Bible describes the earthly Garden of Eden. (Genesis 2:7-10) At the end of the time, Scripture describes Eden’s eternal counterpart, a Heavenly Eden. (Revelation 22:1-5) This Heavenly Eden was the final vision given to John while he was exiled on Patmos. Heaven will share similarities with the original Garden of Eden as we will walk with God and be free from sin, death, and suffering just as Adam and Eve were before Satan tempted them and they rebelled against God. In Heaven, however, there will be no fear of Satan or his evil tactics. We will never need to be on guard against sin or fear we will rebel again and earn the consequence of sin and separation from God, repeating the cycle of the Fall in Genesis 3. At the end of time when God makes all things new, Satan will be imprisoned by God FOREVER, never again permitted to do evil work or destroy God’s good creation. John describes Satan’s demise in Revelation 20:10, “The devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet are, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

3) What characteristics of God’s heart are revealed in verse 4?
The God of all comfort Himself will be the consoler of His people not for a moment, but all of eternity. (2 Corinthians 1:3) He will wipe away every tear. His concern is infinite toward those who have placed themselves under His ceaseless care, for He is the God who daily bears our burdens. (Psalm 68:19) As we study Scripture, we see the Lord as loving, compassionate, humble, and generous, but this last view of the Lord in John’s vision is perhaps the most tender and comforting of them all! To encourage believers, John specifically calls out the evils running antithetical to God’s character which will cease to exist when God makes all things new. Death is first. Death has no final triumph, it will ultimately cease for Life sits on the Throne. This is the promised reverse of the curse in Genesis 2:17, which is also observed in 1 Corinthians 15:54. Sorrow and suffering, in all its many forms, will also cease as God proves He is the One who binds the brokenhearted. (Psalm 147:3) While we face constant uncertainty in the fallen, sinful world of today, our future life will be hemmed in the assurance of God’s steadfast character. Isaiah prophesied of this coming reality with poetry, “The ransomed of the Lord will return and come to Zion with singing, crowned with unending joy. Joy and gladness will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee.” (Isaiah 35:10) “I (God) will rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people. The sound of weeping and crying will no longer be heard in her.” (Isaiah 65:19) “He has swallowed up death once and for all.” (Isaiah 25:8)

Everyday Application

1) When will God dwell with His people? Is it current or future? (verse 3)
The throne upon which God sits in John’s vision symbolizes His complete sovereignty and total authority. With all authority, the Sovereign God declares, “Look! I am making everything new!” (verse 5) It’s coming! The new heavens and new earth will be beyond our wildest imaginings! All of history, including our own day-to-day mundane moments are threaded through with the Hope of what is yet to come. The glory of then isn’t even worth comparing to the suffering of now. (Romans 8:18) In God’s view of eternity, nothing is wasted for He is sovereign over all of it, masterfully weaving it together with His eye on the coming glory! No triumph, struggle, health issue, or relationship demise will be wasted. Nothing happens outside of God’s vantage point, and He uses all things for His glory. (Romans 8:28) No one knows the day or hour Christ will return and set all things right (Matthew 24:36), therefore, we must be ready at all times, busy doing His kingdom work while we actively wait His return. (Matthew 24:44) When I mow the yard, I often find myself looking skyward and praising the Lord by pouring out my heart to the Magnificent God and worshipping Him through song. I love to look upward and remember He’s coming back! Looking up reminds me of Jesus’ disciples as they watched Jesus ascend back to Heaven. The angels asked them, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.” (Acts 1:11) Their admonition encourages me to focus on the work to be done now in telling others about the Coming Hope of Jesus. Hallelujah! Our God uses us for His Glory!

2) If this is futuristic, will we be returning to the Garden of Eden? 
The Garden of Eden not only introduces us to God’s first interactions with mankind, His most special creation, but it also sets the stage for a grand redemptive arc spanning Scripture from Genesis to the closing pages of Revelation. As grand and glorious as the New Heaven and New earth will be, there are requirements to enter. Heavenly bliss, though intended for all human beings, will not be enjoyed by all people. God is not a divine puppeteer, forcing His goodness and love upon us. Only He can purify us from the sin that separates us from Him, for which He has already paid the price. This gift of forgiveness, and all the glory to come, is only given to those who reject their sinful rebellion and turn instead, in full surrender through faith, to the God who died for them. To those who have been saved from the eternal consequences of their sin through this precious, trusting faith, God makes the greatest promise of all, perfect eternity with Him. It’s the same promise He made to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Rahab, David, Isaiah, Mary, Peter, Paul, Timothy, and many more. There is no greater honor in all the universe than to be called the children of God made possible by the lavish love of the redeeming, sacrificial, eternal God! (1 John 3:1)

3) What characteristics of God’s heart are revealed in verse 4?
God is unchanging in character and has already lovingly given Himself for us, therefore, we can have a “foretaste of glory divine” as hymn writer, Fanny Crosby, declared in Blessed Assurance. The delights of participation in His character and benefitting from His presence are available to all of us today if we only come to Him in repentance of our sinful rebellion. Isaiah foretold, “the Lord God will wipe away the tears from every face.” (Isaiah 25:8) Like a mother who bends to tenderly wipe away her child’s tears, so the Lord stoops to dry the tears of His children. What a beautiful portrait of God’s tender mercies extended to those suffering in His household. Since humanity’s fall into sin, mankind has shed countless tears resulting from broken relationships with others and with God. But, the power of sorrow and death is broken through the death and resurrection of God the Son, Christ Jesus. We taste its delight now when we put our faith in Him, and we will experience its fullness in the life still to come! In high school, our choir performed a picturesque Easter song, “The King is Coming”. I will never forget the stanza that filled my heart with explosive joy then and today. Are you ready, dear sisters?! “Happy faces lined the hallway, those whose lives have been redeemed, broken homes that He has mended, those from prison He has freed, little children and the aged, hand in hand stand all aglow. Who were crippled, broken and ruined, are now clad in garments white as snow! The King is Coming! The King is Coming! Just heard the trumpets sounding and now His face I see, praise God He’s coming for me!“ (Gaither Vocal Band) Oh! What a day it will be when we, God’s children, Go Home!

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

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